For W’s 2020 TV Portfolio, we asked 21 of the most sought-after names in television to embody their favorite characters from their favorite shows of the past few months—and to explain why we should all be (re-)watching The Sopranos, Ozark, Schitt’s Creek, and, yes, Floor Is Lava.
ust as Jodie Comer was getting a break from being Villanelle, production on The Last Duel, a period drama-thriller starring Adam Driver and Matt Damon, was cut short. Within a few weeks, the 27-year-old actress was once again immersed in the universe of Killing Eve, with quarantine turning each week’s episode of season 3 into an event. As the show delved further and further into Villanelle’s backstory, the fandom surrounding Killing Eve was unavoidable—especially for Comer. The previously straightforward role of a stylish serial killer now had complexity, making her even more irresistible. And fans, including Elton John, were riveted.
Perhaps it’s partly thanks to her growing fame that Comer, in turn, has become a passionate fan of another series: I Hate Suzie, which stars Billie Piper as an actress whose phone gets hacked. Whether or not the leaked images making headlines are real, they turn Suzie’s life upside down and shatter any semblance of privacy. But you don’t have to be a celebrity to get the draw of the series. In this day and age, Comer noted, everyone has privacy concerns. Here, she shares how she navigates her own, along with a few hints at Villanelle’s future.
Where are you right now?
I’m in Ireland, in a place called Dalkey that’s about 20 minutes south of Dublin. It’s really beautiful, actually—like a tiny little town right on the sea. I’m enjoying the village life at the moment.
How long have you been there?
I’ve been here for two weeks. I’m about to resume filming on The Last Duel, which we were in the middle of all the way back in March. The time has kind of come to carry it on. It’s crazy, but it feels like the safest place to be, in a sense, with all the measurements and precautions they’re obviously having to take. They take things extremely seriously. I’m going back to set on Monday, and I’m sure it will be different. But I think it’ll be a good atmosphere to be around, with everybody so ready to get back to work. My costars have been back for a week, so they’ve already started, but so far I’ve only seen them on Zoom calls.
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Killing Eve took a deep dive — well, as deep as it could go while maintaining some mystery — into assassin Villanelle’s past in Season 3, and Jodie Comer’s work was recognized with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. (She won that category in 2019.)
That’s just one of eight nods — including for Outstanding Drama Series — the spy thriller received this year; Sandra Oh (as ex-agent Eve Polastri) is up against Comer, and Fiona Shaw (as MI6’s Carolyn Martens) is vying for Outstanding Supporting Actress.
“I think the characters are very authentic. I have incredible fun acting in the show and playing this character and I hope that that’s what resonates and that people are enjoying it ultimately,” Comer tells TV Insider. “People are so invested in [all the characters], and I think that’s a huge testament to the production and the whole team, the effort that goes into making it. … I want people to enjoy it. I want people to get lost in it, the absurdity and the truth.”
Here, Comer looks back on the turning point of Season 3 for her character and Villanelle and Eve’s relationship and shares what she knows about what’s ahead.
Did this year’s nomination feel any different from last year, especially after winning?
Jodie Comer: Honestly, I was just really shocked. It’s such an honor to be nominated again, especially after winning last year. That people think I deserve to be up there again was really, really lovely, to be there with Sandra and the rest of the nominees in such an incredible category.
Killing Eve keeps peeling back the layers of Villanelle and what she wants. How did you get into her mindset for Season 3?
I always knew it was going to come up. They’d hinted about Villanelle’s past and her family coming up, but to be honest, we didn’t really know in what capacity that would be until when we were filming Episode 3 because the script was changing so much up until we actually shot it. What I was really excited about was this opportunity to explore something new. That’s been the biggest challenge coming back for each season, staying true to what people love but also acknowledging and moving and growing with these characters and trying to do it in an authentic, realistic way because people want to see more into Villanelle, but then we never want to get too close that she loses her mystery and her sense of danger.
How I got into her psyche, first off, I felt like I had the groundwork from the past two seasons. And then we had a wonderful director, Shannon Murphy, who directed 5 and 6, and she was just so involved in the material and the characters and brought such a great energy and lots of ideas, so to be honest, I kind of clung on to her for dear life and trusted her judgments and her direction.